Akai disk format overview Akai floppy disks are formatted as 2 sides of 80 tracks with 5 or 10 sectors per track. Each sector is bytes long, giving a total of k low density or k high density. PCs use 9 or 18 sectors of bytes and will not read Akai floppies without reprogramming. Unwritten bytes on a disk are set to zero.
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Despite some fans that still love the S to this day , many of those samplers have been plundered for parts or left to electronics recycling bins over the years. But while it was a very simple machine compared to those that followed, its basic functions set the stage for the line of rackmount samplers that would help bring sample-based music-making into the modern age.
With the S, users could record a small snippet of sound from an instrument or vocal up to 8 seconds , using a MIDI keyboard controller to set the sample rate. You could choose between 4kHz and 32kHz, a range that would be expanded in future samplers.
At lower rates, you could fit more samples onto the limited memory. And you could then save your samples onto disks, the format of which would also change as the samplers progressed, from 2. And original sample floppy disks are still sought-after today. The combination of low bit depth and low sampling rates would introduce new timbres to your sampled sounds.
A rich synth could turn reedy and gauzy, a bass could become thicker, and a kick could gain added crunch. Akai S with the MD quick disk drive. And the use of S series samplers along with early Commodore 64 and Atari ST computer sequencers helped pave the way for the future of computer music.
The S series samplers were famously fundamental to electronica, jungle, drum and bass, and other forms of dance music. But plenty of producers still want the original sounds and feel of the Akai S Series. They have a built-in floppy disk drive and feature eight-voice polyphony, with each of these voices having its own separate output, letting users record and process individual hits with ease.
The S you could and still can do pretty much anything you want. Both the X and S were modeled after the S, and as such, is a bit sampler with the same filter and effects, though they included some advancements in editing functions. Importantly, it could record your samples in stereo, whereas all previous S series samplers were limited to mono. We would often trigger four or five snares at once for example, with different envelope shapes and filtering on each to make a composite big sound.
I remember, during those recording sessions, us having several Akai machines all running simultaneously, with many sounds and loops emanating from each before we committed anything to tape so that we could continually update the sound picture as we built the songs. The S was being used in professional studios across the world, so in , Akai released the S , which included many updates aimed at professional engineers and producers.
The professional features came with a premium price upon its release though. Counting it as its third generation of samplers, the S took the earlier voice polyphony of the line and doubled it to 32 voices. The SMPTE reader and hard-disk recording option from the S were included as optional features on the S, though were not available for the S They were prized for their onboard filters, envelopes, and digital effects.
With many different storage options competing in the technological boom at the time, these units offered a mix of floppy disk, hard disk, removable cartridges, magneto-optical disks, and CD-ROM options. The SXL, released in , made previously optional features like the hard-disk and SMPTE reader standard, while the S made the previously option digital filter expansion board and MO disk drive standard. The SXL came with a software program to integrate with a Mac-based sequencer. With the S, you can choose to record at bit or 8-bit resolutions, 22kHz to With voice polyphony and memory expandable up the 32MB, the S was a powerful, entry-level alternative to the S upon its release, and is still much sought-after today.
Radically redesigned from their predecessors, the units were powerful machines with interfaces more closely resembling a computer than a simple back-lit display. They could handle up to Mb of RAM and could hold more than 25 minutes of samples in stereo at the highest sampling rate. The S came standard with voice polyphony, while the lesser model, the S, came with voice polyphony standard but was upgradable to as well. While more powerful than ever, the S series were about to be eclipsed by the power of DAWs.
As such, these later-year samplers are now no longer as prized as the earlier models like the S—which, though they make lack in features, are still loved for the special character they impart on their samples.
Akai S3000XL MIDI Stereo Digital Sampler 1996
Editing of the loop is possible separately for the left and right channels whereby very interesting and unique effects can be produced. Not all formats accept this kind of loop editing. Loops can be shown even in sizes above , making it easy to analyze and locate the best point for starting and ending of the loop, and finding the best phase. During displacement of the loop, crackling in the sample playback is not heard, a problem which might otherwise be found disturbing. The program changes the beginning and the end loop points to assure the continuity of playback of the sample.